1960. Leverkusen, Germany. Fontana and Kusama met.

Stasya Chyzhykova
Feb 28, 2013 4:03PM

It was the spring of 1960. In a town south of Dusseldorf Lucio Fontana and Yayoi Kusama met for the first time. Both were part of the group show Monochrome Malerei (Monochrome Painting), intended to showcase contemporary tendencies in the Avant-garde art and respond radically to the expressionism of the 1950s.

For Kusama, who had moved to New York just a few years before, Monochrome Malerei was a pivotal moment, introducing her unconventional artistic style to the European audience. Being one of the two artists from New York (Mark Rothko was the other one), Kusama exhibited her obsessive Infinity Nets (polka dot paintings) alongside the monochrome works by Yves Klein and Piero Manzoni. Her work prompted much attention, making its way to the front pages of European newspapers.   

For Lucio Fontana the exhibition in Germany was one of the most significant in his artistic career as well. Possibly, it was the first time the artist showcased his signature tagli paintings, which the artist began to make around the time of the exhibition, between 1958-1960. Fontana would create a taglio by slashing decisively his painted and unpainted canvases and backing them with black fabric, creating an illusion of infinite void behind.

Both artists are featured on Artsy this week. Their works are part of The Armory Show 2013, and can now be previewed on Artsy. 

Stasya Chyzhykova